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The Gerontologist 43:62-72 (2003)
© 2003 The Gerontological Society of America

Willingness to Participate in Clinical Treatment Research Among Older African Americans and Whites

Diane R. Brown, PhD1, and Meral Topcu, PhD1

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Diane R. Brown, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, SSB 1346, 65 Bergen Street, Newark, NJ 07107. E-mail: browndi{at}

Purpose: Using a health services utilization conceptual framework, the purpose of this analysis was to examine race differences in factors predictive of the behavioral intention of older persons to participate in a clinical treatment trial should they have a diagnosis of cancer. In addition, the analysis sought to determine if older African Americans were less likely than Whites to express willingness to participate, given knowledge of the Tuskegee syphilis study and greater fatalistic cancer beliefs.Design and Methods: Data were drawn from a community-based telephone survey of 216 African Americans and 222 Whites, 50 years of age and older.Results: Findings show that willingness to participate was significantly higher among males, persons of younger age, higher incomes, and with nonfatalistic cancer beliefs. Race differences were only apparent for the two significant interactions of race with age and high income. Neither knowledge of the Tuskegee study nor fatalistic cancer beliefs were more important for African Americans than for Whites.Implications: Study findings suggest that recruitment strategies need to be tailored to racial differences in factors affecting willingness to participate, particularly those related to age and income level.

Key Words: Research participation • Elderly • Minorities • Clinical trials

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